Australasian motor racing lost one of its true gentlemen when former Hamiltonian Mark Porter died in Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital last Sunday.
Porter, who had recently turned 31, suffered severe injuries to his head, neck and body in an accident two laps from the end of the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Development Series race at Bathurst on Friday afternoon.
His Holden Commodore clipped a trackside wall, spun and ended up broadside-on, stranded in the middle of the track.
Young Sydney driver David Clark arrived on the scene at an estimated 180km/h, threw the car sideways to brush off as much speed as possible, but ploughed into the stricken Holden.The driver’s door and the rollcage of Porter’s car were crushed by the impact and he had to be cut from the wreckage.
Both drivers were airlifted to Bathurst base hospital and then transferred, Clark to Nepean Hospital and Porter to Royal Prince Alfred where he was put on life support.
Porter’s death was announced in a statement from his family two hours after the end of the Bathurst 1000.
Clark underwent surgery, was put into a medically-induced coma, and has since regained consciousness. He is now out of intensive care and is expected to make a full recovery. He will be in hospital for six to eight weeks.
Mark Porter’s motor racing career began in earnest with a Mazda RX7 Batmobile, built to contest the NZ Super GT series. He had been around racing for several years before that, accompanying his truck racing father Robin. The Porter family runs the Hamilton-based Porter Hire and Eagle Spares heavy equipment businesses.
Mark raced in GT events in Japan and New Zealand before moving into the highly-competitive TraNZam Sports Sedan championship in New Zealand, first racing a Chevrolet Camaro and then a Ford V8-powered Jaguar XKR.
Hydraulink livery appeared on both TraNZam cars and carried over on to Porter’s Australian racers.
Auto Trader, Deals on Wheels sister publication at ACP Media, was also involved in sponsoring Porter in NZ racing.
From 2002 he had concentrated on the Australian V8 Supercar development series in which he was a consistent front-runner.
He finished fourth in the 2002 series, third in 2003 and 2004 and ninth in 2005. This year he was running third.
Porter and his wife Adrienne moved to Australia’s Gold Coast two years ago and Porter’s thrust to carve out a future in V8 Supercar racing went into high gear. They have a one-year-old son, Flynn.
Porter was one of the most likeable drivers in motor racing, popular with his rivals, quietly-spoken, modest and always approachable. On-track he was fast, hard-working and sportsmanlike.
This thoroughly professional, gentlemanly man will be sorely missed.
Deals on Wheels Magazine and the wider ACP Trader Group businesses extend their deeply-felt sympathies to Mark’s immediate family and to his many friends.